This weekend is the Christian holy festival of Easter, which is celebrated here in Melbourne with both religious and secular interpretations - many people will attend church services, but for the majority, it's an opportunity to enjoy a long weekend filled with chocolate. It's also Passover this weekend - whatever you are celebrating, we hope that you enjoy yourselves and spend quality time with friends and families!
A few years ago, Easter and all that chocolatey yumminess became a massive tribulation for one of our Favourite puppies. I was sharing a house with E and her spoodle Jersey.
One Easter, E had taken Jersey home to her parents' place in the country. My family came over for Easter lunch and my brother brought chocolate bunnies for everyone, including E. We put it in her room so I wouldn't be tempted to eat it before she got home. A few days later, when E came home, I'd totally forgotten about it, didn't mention it and it didn't spring to her attention. But Jersey saw it. Like many small dogs, Jersey is adept at climbing furniture, and this bunny had been placed in a location she could easily reach. Or possibly it had been knocked down, I'm not sure. Either way, the bunny got mostly eaten, with disastrous results. Poor Jersey ended up being really sick, and the local vets had to work hard to save her.
So, why is chocolate so bad for dogs? Because "Chocolate contains cocoa and cocoa contains the compound theobromine. Theobromine is toxic to dogs and other pets at certain doses." (Sorce) Jersey, being a small dog, eating a large chocolate bunny, ingested a dangerous amount of theobromine. A larger dog might not have suffered such bad effects, unless the chocolate was very rich in cocoa.
Jersey was restless, hyperactive, trembling and sick. E rushed her off to the vet who found that her heart was racing dangerously. They had to get the chocolate out of her system, using a combination of vomiting, swallowing charcoal to absorb any traces left behind and flushing her system with an IV. It was a very scary experience for E, but fortunately Jersey came through it ok.
Cats can't taste sweet favours, so although theobromine is even more toxic to cats, they rarely eat chocolate. Dogs, however, will gorge themselves on many weird and wonderful things, and can acquire quite a taste for chocolate. Even though it made her so sick, Jersey absolutely loves chocolate and will go to some efforts to reach chocolates that have been put up high.
This morning I looked at this bunny sitting on our shelves... And moved it up to a higher shelf. Our huskies aren't known for counter-surfing or shelf climbing, but E's experience with Jersey has taught me that it's worth being extra careful.
Happy Easter everyone! Stay safe on the roads, be kind to each other and love your dogs!